Travel between Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary is restriction-free again after borders fully reopen

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The restrictions on travel between the Czech Republic, Austria, and Hungary are fully lifted since Friday at noon, the Czech government decided at a special meeting on Friday after consultations with the respective countries. The obligation to undergo tests for COVID-19 after returning from these countries is thus abolished.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, tourist and shopping trips are allowed for Czech citizens. In the rest of Germany, restrictions on the entry of foreigners still apply. However, according to Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček, negotiations with German officials on full liberalization of travel continue.

He also warned that people should follow information from the countries to which they are going. People can find an interactive map on Foreign Ministry’s website with more information.

“The traffic light system talks about the conditions under which our citizens can return. It is still true that in the case of trips abroad, it is necessary to monitor the conditions of a particular country for entry into their territory,” said Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček after the government meeting.

The government also decided to open all Czech airports for arrivals from European Union countries. Until now, it was only possible to land in Prague, Brno, Ostrava, Karlovy Vary, and Pardubice. However, border controls will be maintained at airports until the end of June.

The cabinet justified this in the resolution by saying that when traveling by plane, there is a serious threat of the spread of the coronavirus epidemic in the Czech Republic. The police should carry out inspections at airports “in a flexible way commensurate with the current threat depending on the development of the situation”, the approved material states.

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said that the Hungarians had been striving to open the borders since Thursday. However, the Czechia and Slovakia wanted to demonstrate that they were closest, so they opened them sooner.

“We wanted to keep the tradition that Czechs and Slovaks are closest to each other,” he said.

Of the surrounding countries, Poland still maintains a special regime.

Until now, Czech citizens could visit Slovakia, Austria, and Hungary without the obligation to submit a negative test for coronavirus, but they had to return within 48 hours. In the case of longer stays or trips to other countries, it was necessary to submit a negative test for coronavirus or to enter a two-week quarantine.

The Czech Republic originally planned to allow for travel from June 15, however, this week Babiš agreed with his Slovak counterpart Igor Matovič to open the Czech-Slovak border from Thursday. Austria has also abolished border controls since Thursday, except for the crossings to Italy.

Title image: Czech Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek addresses the media after talks with Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl at the foreign ministry in Vienna, Austria, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

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